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Health information technology 'control tower' could improve earthquake response
Date:3/21/2011

traffic planning to look at how to effectively manage this new type of emergency medical care."

"We know that when disasters strike, local hospitals, clinics and medical personnel can be completely overwhelmed," says co-author Dr. Aaron Bair, associate professor of emergency medicine and interim director of the UC Davis Center for Health and Technology. "We focused on testing how telemedicine can expedite response, enabling help to get to where it is needed in a relatively short timeframe. Our results show telemedicine improves emergency care at the disaster site -- providing care for more patients sooner, reducing waiting times for treatment and permitting more efficient use of scarce medical resources."

According to the study's principal investigator, Dr. Christian Sandrock, an assistant professor of pulmonary and critical care medicine at UC Davis School of Medicine and a county public health officer in Northern California, high-speed telecommunications links would offer critical benefits for emergency teams when they are responding to a disaster. "We think telemedicine can reduce mortality rates following a disaster by bolstering medical triage capabilities of emergency care providers." He adds, "By helping disaster victims avoid the time it takes to be transported to a designated area for treatment, telemedicine can enable medical teams to actually spend more time caring for patients, so you save lives."

Telemedicine technology is already being tested in the emergency medicine setting. One system of "medical kiosks" in Australia makes use of webcam-equipped laptops, satellite terminals and telemedicine equipment -- including ECG monitors and blood pressure equipment -- to allow physicians to remotely assess patients and give medical advice. The current study focuses on how to manage the multiple data streams resulting from use of such technology in the setting of a mass-casualty disaster like an earthquake.


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Contact: John Rodgers
jdr2001@med.cornell.edu
212-821-0560
New York- Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center/Weill Cornell Medical College
Source:Eurekalert

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